I bought this car brand new in 2009. A rebuilt transmission ($3,000) in 2014, replaced a/c compressor ($1,800) and water pump ($1,200) and finally a thrown rod are all the problems I had to deal with in a relatively new car. Add to that poor gas mileage and faster than normal break and tire wear led to a pretty expensive car to operate. Thankfully it was pretty cheap to buy brand new. I wouldn't buy another one (if I could).
2009 Suzuki SX4 Sport 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
We were looking for a replacement for the same year and model where the engine got blown from lack of oil (new driver). In the 5 years we owned this make/model the only maintenance cost was oil changes. My college student driven neglected to change the oil and blew the engine after he moved away from home. I happily replaced it with the same make/model because I knew it would perform well and have low maintenance costs.
This is a perfect car for living here in Colorado Springs. The only downside is less gas mileage than I would like. But the AWD, traction control, and relatively high ground clearance means that whenever it snows or is icy, it will get you where you need to go. When you see cars pulled off the side of the road, or trying and failing to climb an icy hill, you won't have a problem keeping going. Perfect if you need to get to work or to the Denver airport in marginal road conditions.
Update: hitting curb after a minor accident caused enough damage to suspension to have it totalled. Replaced with a Nissan crossover that gets 10-15 mpg better, with all the same features I liked in the SX4.
This car is reliable and compact. Doesn't sit as low as other small vehicles. The use of space is good. The design features make sense. Love the Hatchback. It's great for a first car or if you want fuel economy. It gets decent gas mileage, not spectacular. It drives great and we are happy with our purchase.
I used to own a 1998 Suzuki Swift, and this car was bullet-proof. It gave me 300K miles of pure reliability. Not so with my SX4... This car is sub-standard in quality and in performance. And to top it off, Suzuki has vacated the U.S., so good luck getting service. My closest service provider is over 2 hours away...
The all-wheel drive (AWD), which can cut through snow like no other car I've ever driven. I've been known to drive by 4X4 pickup trucks stranded in the snow!
Bigger gas tank and don't lie about the MPG (I actually get 21 MPG on the highway)! A bigger and more reliable engine and better automatic transmission gearing... Brakes and shocks that don't disintegrate before 15K miles.